Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) is progressing plans to build a large blue ammonia project as it deepens the United Arab Emirates’ exposure to emerging low-carbon fuel value chains.

The facility, which has moved to the design phase, will be developed at the new TA’ZIZ industrial complex and chemicals hub at Ruwais in the west of the country.

UK contractor Wood has been awarded design contracts for the pre-front-end engineering and design work for the ammonia project and the six additional TA’ZIZ chemicals projects.

Adnoc, in parallel, will undertake a feasibility study on the supply of blue hydrogen to the project from its operations in Ruwais.

The final investment decision for the blue ammonia project, which will have capacity of 1 megatonne per annum, is expected next year, with start-up targeted for 2025.

Are you missing out on ACCELERATE?
Gain valuable insight into the global oil and gas industry's energy transition from ACCELERATE, the free weekly newsletter from Upstream and Recharge.

Blue ammonia is made from nitrogen and blue hydrogen derived from natural gas feedstock, with the carbon dioxide by-product from hydrogen production captured and stored.

“This is a significant milestone in the development of our blue hydrogen and ammonia business, building on the UAE’s strong position as a producer of competitive, low-carbon natural gas and our leadership role in carbon capture and underground storage,” said Adnoc chief executive Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber.

“As we collectively navigate the global energy transition, we believe hydrogen, and its carrier fuels such as ammonia, offer promise and potential as zero-carbon energy sources.”

Since its launch in November 2020, land and marine surveys at TA’ZIZ have been completed.

Considerable interest has been received from local and international investors in opportunities across the entire ecosystem and value chain, and agreements with the first-phase of investors are nearing finalisation, Adnoc said.

Agreements have been signed with customers to explore supply opportunities for blue hydrogen and hydrogen carrier fuels, such as blue ammonia.

In recent months, Adnoc has signed a number of agreements to explore hydrogen supply opportunities with customers in key demand centres, including the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry and South Korea’s GS Energy.

Mandate given

“This builds on the mandate given to Adnoc from the Supreme Petroleum Council in November 2020, to explore opportunities in hydrogen and hydrogen carrier fuels such as blue ammonia, with the ambition to position the UAE as a hydrogen leader,” Adnoc said.

Ammonia can be used as a low-carbon fuel across a wide range of industrial applications, including transport, power generation and steel, cement and fertiliser production, it added.

Adnoc is already a major producer of hydrogen and ammonia, with more than 300,000 tonnes per annum of hydrogen produced at the Ruwais Industrial Complex.

The company operates Al Reyadah, which it claims is the world’s first fully commercial CO2 facility for the iron and steel industry, and the first commercial-scale carbon capture, utilisation and storage project in the Middle East.

Al Reyadah captures up to 800,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum from UAE steel production.